I have always wondered about the focus on HS seats ... what is up with that? So unfair to the elementary schools... Question on FB in response to Ed Notes, Talking About UFT Elections - Double Oy Vey! -I wouldn't say exclusion - but there are 700 or more elem schools and no opposition has had enough outreach to them. There used to be about 100 high schools - now there are around 450 - but still a reachable number.
If you are an elementary school teacher and want to become a point person in your school in the election campaign we will connect you up to others in your district. Email email@example.com.My initial reaction was to recall the famous bank robber Willie Sutton's response to the question of why he robbed banks: It's where the money is.
Organizing in Elem Schools Must be District Based
The opposition activists over most of UFT history came from the ranks of high school teachers. Only groups I have been involved in - CSW in the 70s, ICE in the aughts and MORE now, have had some elementary activists but never enough critical mass at the district levels to have much impact -- and elem schools are very much district based and under the control of Unity through its district reps.
Voting outcomes in elem school divisions over the many election cycles show about a 20-25% vote for the opposition while totals in the HS have ranged from 35-55% for the opposition - the only seats ever won against Unity. If in next year's election, the elem school opposition vote cracks 33% that would be a sign of change. But most elem schools are just not reachable by the opposition.
Here was the response I gave on FB.
On the whole, the focus on HS is because the most active people have been in HS over the 60 year history of the UFT. They organized the first strikes. HS teachers are not in a position to organize elem school teachers - I was one by the way for 30 years - and it is up to elem school teachers to take more control. We don't need votes only but active people in the schools to challenge the Unity line. Look at the votes in just the last election. There were 36,000 elem school ballots sent out and MORE got 1100 votes, New Action around 700 and Unity around 5200. Whereas in HS - out of 19000 votes sent out, Unity got 1575, MORE 1440 and New Action around 450 - but the New Action votes went to Unity due to their alliance. If MORE and New Action votes were together Unity would have lost in the HS. But even if New Action and MORE were together in the elem schools Unity still would have won 2-1. Fact is the opposition has never been able to establish a toehold in most elem because Unity has such a base there - and uses its district reps to keep control - the elem school environment is much more conducive to repression for a number of reasons and people generally are not as militant or willing to get involved. But some progress is being made where MORE has a base in elem schools in certain districts with a bunch of Chapter leaders who are independent or in MORE.